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Complete change of major/career path?

  1. Jul 26, 2011 #1
    Ok so here is my problem. I recently graduated from UCSB doing mathematical finance (not too great gpa 3.2). The thing is, during my second year or so I got really interested in physics and disillusioned with my major. I didn't do anything about it because I thought I was too late into my major to switch (big mistake). Well now I have a degree but I want to go back and do physics (I also found out that UCSB is a top ten school in physics which makes me even more mad that I didn't switch when I should've). I only took one physics course during college and got an easy A, but it was an intro class.

    So my question is, how can I get into a master's program? Should I take a bunch of physics classes at a community college or something and then apply? And is there some way of getting an extremely accelerated bachelors in physics since I've done all my GE's? I basically feel like I've wasted 4 years of my life studying something I don't want to do anymore... help would be appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 27, 2011 #2
    First off, don't feel too bad that you didn't switch majors at UCSB solely because of the top ten ranking. These rankings are pretty arbitrary. Just saying.

    As far as getting into a masters program, you will have to go back to school and run through the full undergrad physics curriculum. Whether or not you have to take the gen-eds will likely depend on the school you go to (If you go back to UCSB, for example, they may not make you re-take them). Additionally, you may not even have to get another bachelors, because you already have one. Simply taking every undergraduate physics (and math) course required for the physics degree may be enough to get into a masters program -- take all the physics, learn all the physics, maybe get some research done, kill the GRE. This could likely be enough to convince an admission committee to admit you.

    Just curious, but what sort of math did you take from the math department? If you have taken the calculus sequences you can hop right into some real physics courses, which would be ideal.

    Also, was the physics course algebra based?
  4. Jul 27, 2011 #3
    Hey thanks a lot for your reply.

    Yes I have taken the calculus sequence and looking at the curriculum for the physics undergrad I would be able to jump right into the physics courses. The physics I took was not calculus based if that's what you mean. There are quite a lot of physics courses in the curriculum, though, and it seems like I would be taking multiple years to complete all of them, which I guess is my only option at this point and I'm fine with that. By chance do you know of any accelerated program where I would be able to take all the necessary physics courses in a shorter time, if anything even exists like that?
  5. Jul 27, 2011 #4
    No, I can't say that I know.

    You should know that you will (very likely) have to take more math.

    I think most physics programs require calculus I through III, intro differential equations (ODEs), partial differential equations (PDEs), and a course in applied linear algebra.

    Like I said, though, I'm not sure about an accelerated program. I sort-of doubt that any major university would have something like this. You may be able to find something online, but I'm not sure that it would be the wisest thing to do.
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